# Up Front by Emma Hart

## 143 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newer→ Last

• well seconds USED to be 1/86400 of a day and then 1/31557600 of a year - but days and years aren't that regular (which is why we just got a new leap second this NYE). Now that a second is the base units for our (MKS) measuring system, we can't keep changing it just because the world's rotation is running down

Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

• Precisely.

Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

• Yes, but my point is, if you're going to a decimal system, then surely the base unit should be a decimal of something, not a 1/31557600.

Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

• Why? A metre is not a decimal of anything. A gram neither.

Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

• by making the second the base unit we can keep our years (and days) synchronised to the sun by dropping in the occasional leap second (and leap day of course) - in the distant futire as I've pointed out we wont care about the sun (or we'll have different suns and planets with their own numbers to worry about)

Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

• Didn't we just add a leap second this year? I used mine to take a short, but well-deserved, break.

Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

• So... who's going to see that new Star Trek movie then?

Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

• I used mine to take a short, but well-deserved, break.

Like that wonderful hard-working My Key. :)

Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

• Why? A metre is not a decimal of anything. A gram neither.

A gram was. It was the weight of a cubic cm of pure water or something like that.

And a litre is a decimal portion of a cubic metre or something. And a litre of water is almost exactly one kg (depends on where it's measured and its temperature).

Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

• A gram was. It was the weight of a cubic cm of pure water or something like that.

Sure, but then... what's a centimetre? At least one of those units is going be a tenth of nothing at all.

Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

• a tenth of nothing at all

Isn't that what the Large Hadron Collider is for measuring? :)

Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

• I thought it had been designed to KILL US ALL. Was I misinformed?

Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

• leap second? I got a whole leap DAY - on which I was required to work for free! (Like many people I'm paid the same monthly salary whether there's a leap day or not)

I think that leap day (or the closest Monday) should be a public holiday

Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

• designed to KILL US ALL

Thought you said that was System's goal?

Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

• I'm feeling a little technoparanoid today.

Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

• Sure, but then... what's a centimetre? At least one of those units is going be a tenth of nothing at all.

Yes, but it's a decimal of nothing at all. Not at 60th, 24th, or 365thand a bit-th.

Why would you change the system of time and leave in three different factors, none of which is 10?

Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

• __designed to KILL US ALL__

Thought you said that was System's goal?

But I've said too much already ...

Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

• What I mean is - days, and years, make sense. They're not decimal, but they relate to the world around us.

Hours, minutes, seconds, arbitrary numbers someone picked out of their arse. Why would it be the second that you'd keep for your number base? Why not the day or the year? Standardise it at a certain date and ignore the fact that it changes in minuscule ways.

Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

• Why would you change the system of time and leave in three different factors, none of which is 10?

Nobody is changing the system of time, and coordinated universal time (which is not metric) is never going to become part of the everyday conversation on earth, although it's useful in some very specific fields.

It's just that at some point scientists wanted a more precise, constant definition of the key units of measure - to standardise experiments, amongst other things - and so they came up with the atomic clock which measures the second the way it does, and to the definition of metre we've discussed. Not to have to go to Paris and measure against the official metre every time, you understand.

Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

• (of course you can't ignore minuscule changes in most modern scientific experiments)

Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

• Look, when they got in metres and everything, they tried dicking around with the calendar, and nobody went for it.

As a rule, if Napoleon couldn't do it, it is a Bad Idea.

Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

• As a rule, if Napoleon couldn't do it, it is a Bad Idea.

Caesar managed, though. Just sayin'.

Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

Reckon. So if System weren't still in beta, the LHC might still be working? (imagine that said like a Scooby Doo ending)

Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

• The French Empire has a certain ring to it..

Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

• Nobody is changing the system of time

See upstream where Paul suggested kS and mS. So, if you were changing the system of time, why wouldn't you change your base so that it worked on earth as a decimal was my point.

Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newer→ Last